Sharing their stories

Michele Roehrig


This Spring Break, 400 of my closest friends gave up their hygiene, late wake-up calls and gourmet food to pick up hammers, friends and a new appreciation for life.

But as they were holding rubble left from Hurricane Katrina, I wondered why I was only holding a camera.

Regardless of my guilt, I was having the most rewarding experience meeting the hospitable homeowners, documenting Kent State’s most charitable endeavor and pitching in as much as I could.

As the week went on, I felt sorry for my friends and family who couldn’t be there to experience this amazing trip. But I also became increasingly happy with every new friend I made, every life the volunteers touched and every piece of knowledge I gained. In fact, I became overwhelmed when I realized I almost didn’t come to Mississippi at all.

It was during a solitary walk on the coast when I realized why my role as a photographer was so important: I became the eyes for every person who decided not to go.

So if you weren’t there to meet Lana, a Pass Christian resident who thanks God everyday that she was the only one on her block to lose her house, I was. If you were unable to see the Gulf Coast beyond piles of past homes, I did. If you couldn’t experience the fellowship between volunteers, I could.

And my duty is to share it with you.

– Michele Roehrig